Planning an Escape Route

If you had a fire in your home tonight, would you know what to do?

You need to be prepared and have an escape plan - one day it could just save your life! Make sure you and those you live with know how to escape in the event of a fire.

The most important thing to remember if a fire starts is to get out, stay out and call 999. You should never try to fight a fire yourself.

Planning ahead

  • It's important that everyone in your home (including children and the elderly) is involved in putting together the escape plan

  • Everyone should know where the window and door keys are

  • Your normal way out of the house is your best escape route so always keep it clear of clutter - think of the difficulties you'll have using this route in pitch darkness or smoke

  • Walk your escape route with the rest of your family or housemates and make sure everyone can open windows and doors easily

  • Always choose a second escape route, in case the first one is blocked

  • Review your escape route regularly to take into account any changes in your home

What to do in a fire

  • Keep calm and act quickly - tell everyone to get out of your home

  • Seconds count so don't waste time investigating or rescuing valuables

  • Before opening a door, check it first by using the back of your hand. If it's warm, don't open it!

  • When moving through the home, remember to shut doors behind you to help contain the fire

If your clothes catch fire - stop, drop and roll

  • If your clothes can fire, don't run around, you will fan the flames and make them burn faster

  • Lie down and roll around. It makes it harder for the fire to spread and smothers the flames

  • Smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat, blanket or a fire blanket

Escaping through a window

  • You should only try and escape through a window if you're on the ground or first floor and your escape route is blocked. If you're higher up, wait to be rescued by firefighters

  • If you need to break a window, use a heavy object to break the glass in the bottom corner. Then knock out the glass. Be careful of jagged edges - make them safe by laying a towel or blanket over them

  • Break your fall with cushions and bedding

  • Don't jump - lower yourself down before dropping

What to do if your escape route is blocked

  • If your escape route is blocked and you can't escape through a window, call 999 immediately and find a room to wait in until firefighters arrive

  • Open a window in the room and put cushions and bedding around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke

  • If smoke starts to come into the room - keep low to the floor as this is where the air is cleaner

Once you've escaped

Don't go back inside your home, even if there is someone left inside. Wait for firefighters and when they arrive give them as much information as possible.

More information

Don't drown in Toxic Smoke (Fire Kills Campaign, opens in new window).

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